How come Halle Berry gets a bad rap for her relationships?

OPINION - A bad break up just makes her human, not abnormal...

Halle Berry has been crowned the tabloid covergirl of the week, thanks to her brewing custody drama with model Gabriel Aubry, the father of her 2-year-old daughter Nahla. It’s another strike in her less-than-perfect public record of relationships and love.

Her split from Aubry was impressively amicable at first — the two had seemingly agreed to co-parent equally since their split in April. But late this past December Gabriel decided to take Halle to court for parental rights, and all has gone downhill from there.

Halle’s dating track record isn’t a shining emblem of relationships anyone would aspire to. First there was baseball player David Justice, who is rumored to have physically abused her, then singer Eric Benét, who cheated on her, and now there’s the Gabriel Aubry debacle. Their relationship was extremely low key while it lasted, however in the grand tradition of “they call it a break up because it’s broken,” the aftermath is wrought with nasty rumors and allegations. In Halle’s corner, rumors are being flung that Gabriel is a bad dad who their daughter is afraid to be around, and it was recently announced that Halle pulled out of a movie role to focus on the ensuing custody battle. A former business associate of her ex is also alleging that Gabriel once called Halle the n-word.

[MSNBCMSN video=”″ w=”592″ h=”346″ launch_id=”41386252″ id=”msnbc30df5f”]

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Interestingly, Gabriel’s side of the story is practically mute. A statement released from his modeling agency rep simply stated that he “refuses to air their issues in the press as he believes this may ultimately harm their daughter. The fact is that Gabriel is a caring father who shares custody of Nahla.”

If Halle Berry’s camp is embellishing stories to garner public support for her cause — well that is a whole different level of dysfunction and manipulation that can probably best be defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

However if Halle’s allegations are true, and a lot of the media are reporting the story as such, it has become prime opportunity for psychoanalysts, amateur and otherwise, to examine the personal life of Halle Berry. But in addition to feelings of sympathy, the conversation is oddly turning into “what’s wrong with Halle?” Because apparently this is all her fault.
The public logic of Halle’s love life usually follows as so:

1. But she’s so pretty! Why can’t she keep a man? — Talk about a backhanded compliment: yes you are pretty, and that is all that matters. A woman’s worth is wrapped up in what she can see in the mirror, and because she is attractive, there’s no reason why some man shouldn’t have clubbed her and dragged her back to his cave eons ago. It’s oversimplification — relationships aren’t compatibility and chemistry, they are just looks and attraction. In truth, being attractive may provide more opportunity, but it does not secure the relationship. Focusing on her looks belittles any sort of character or personality she may have — because most importantly, she is pretty!

2. Something must be wrong with her — Well obviously if she is attractive and pretty, and can’t “keep” a man, there must be something wrong with her. An attractive man can play the field until he’s gray in the hair — it’s call being the preternatural bachelor. A woman who’s attractive and hops from man to man — it’s called “having issues” or worse, “whore.” These types of logical fallacies once again overlook the complicated and complex elements of creating a lasting relationship.

3. She has daddy issues — Because what black woman doesn’t? Naturally that’s always the conclusion to be drawn from a woman who has trouble dating. But if a man has dating issues, do we ever say he has mommy issues? Of course not.

To say that Halle’s got some underlying issue pulling her into unsuccessful relationships implicates that it’s all her fault — well Halle, if you did a better job at picking men, maybe you wouldn’t be caught up in drama, again.

And that just feels unfair. Fact is, few people deliberately and consciously go headlong into a relationship with the knowledge that it will be a detriment to their life. I’m sure when Anna Mae Bullock met Ike Turner, she thought he was a nice man. Eventually she learned that he wasn’t so much — but do we chastise her for heading down that path in the first place? Few people have psychic ability as a character strength.

This isn’t to say that all is well in her world — Halle may have some real and deep-seated issues. For sure there is an unfortunate pattern in her public love life. But by squarely placing the blame on poor decision making not only oversimplifies relationships, it also very conveniently removes any responsibility of her partner. In reality (and probably even more so in Hollywood) ugly break ups are quite common. The “amicable” break up is a much more rare occurrence, and that deserves more news coverage than two people who broke up and — shocker — now no longer get along. Unfortunately for Halle, her average ugly breakup is hot tabloid fodder, giving her issues a more sensational element (and audience) than your average girl from Ohio.

Love and relationships are a crap shoot, and Halle’s issues with Gabriel just affirms this. It feels unfair to draw conclusions about Halle’s personal life just because she’s having another rough spate — a bad break up just makes her human, not abnormal.